Are you tired of worrying that your basement will take on water? This is a particularly potent worry in winter, when frozen, burst pipes during power outages can become an all-too-real reality.
But at any time of year, it’s not fun to be checking your weather app multiple times a day for the signs of rain or storms that could send water into your basement or crawl space, causing expensive damage and plunging resale values.
One surefire way to increase your peace of mind and, when the time comes to sell, your home's value is to make sure these five keys to a waterproof basement are in place!
Key 1: Up-level your basement drainage system
If water ever does get inside your basement, the right question to ask is always, How will it get back out?
Ideally, you ask this question while in prevention mode rather than while desperately trying to bail out your basement during a storm-related power outage.
Basement drainage may not be able to prevent water from finding a way in, but it can sure as heck make sure it gets back out again, and sooner rather than later.
The best basement drainage system will seamlessly integrate with your sump pump (and backup sump pump) system. You also want to make sure your drainage system has non-clogging features to keep water-borne debris from backing up inside your system.
Key 2: Get your sump pump an assistant
One non-negotiable key to keeping your basement safe and dry is a sump pump that will work no matter what. For example, let’s say the power goes out. If water starts seeping in or backing up in your basement, what will happen next?
The sump pump is your first line of defence against expensive water damage repairs. But it will only work as well as its power source.
A backup generator is a great option for keeping an electric-powered sump pump up and running during storms and power outages. Another option is a battery backup, which some newer sump pumps already have built in.
For an older sump pump that is nearing the end of its useful life, upgrading to a gas- or propane-powered sump pump is another good option.
When you are ready to upgrade, look for a sump with a cast-iron core, the ability to handle solids up to a half-inch across, a float switch that is mechanical, an evaporation-resistant airtight lid, anti-freeze/anti-clog discharge lines and an inbuilt alarm system.
These features will not only protect your basement year-round but also help improve your home’s resale value while potentially lowering your homeowners insurance premiums.
Key 3: Dehumidify
A number of methods exist for keeping humidity levels balanced seasonally in your basement.
It is just the nature of a basement to be more humid than the aboveground areas of your home. But modern home technology can combat that quite effectively, often so there is no difference between above- and below-ground spaces.
A portable dehumidifier is the simplest, fastest fix for keeping humidity from causing mould and mildew problems. However, if your basement is quite humid or you tend to be away from home for extended periods, this option is going to be harder to manage.
The best approach is to add humidity-resistant basement insulation in combination with interior basement waterproofing.
If you have a crawl space, you can opt to do a modified waterproofing treatment called encapsulation.
This is the modern antidote to old-school crawl space ventilation, which often makes humidity worse rather than better. It also adds an extra level of comfort and protection to your basement or crawl space, turning it into a functional area.
Key 4: Window wells for every window
Having windows in your basement is a lovely feature to make the space brighter, cheerier and homier.
However, windows without window wells connected to your basement’s drainage system is just a recipe for leaks.
If you have windows and are lucky enough to already have window wells installed, be sure to put it on your calendar to check them regularly for clogs. As well, make sure your windows themselves are not an unwitting entry point for rain, ice and snow melt-off and debris.
Key 5: Get those gutters and downspouts working
Finally, your home’s gutters and downspouts can have a great impact on whether moisture is able to find its way into your crawl space or basement.
Over time, landscape grading can shift, sometimes mildly but sometimes quite dramatically. Changing soil content, the water table, foundation instability and other issues can create a situation where water actually starts flowing back toward your home rather than away from it.
This in turn increases the risk of a leaking or flooded crawl space or basement.
In the same way, blocked gutters or downspouts and too-short or missing downspouts can route water back toward your home’s foundation and its vulnerable below-ground spaces.
It doesn’t have to be a major project to improve gutters and downspouts, and it can prevent what will most certainly be a major project and a major expense – remediation after a basement flood.
Get a FREE Basement or Crawl Space Threat Evaluation
Are you fighting against a growing suspicion that your basement or crawl space isn’t as protected as it needs to be against leaks or floods, mould or mildew?
Or is your basement always cold and clammy (or even worse, warm and clammy) no matter what time of year it is?
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